- Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation that would change the criteria for a certificate of need (CON) exemption, making it easier for rural hospitals to build new or replacement facilities, the Orlando Business Journal reports.
- The measure would expand the number of counties where hospitals are exempt from CON review from 5 to 21.
- Hospital construction in the state could see an upswing if lawmakers approve the proposal.
The exemption would apply to construction of new hospitals located in counties “with a population density of less than 100 persons per square mile” and replacement facilities located within the current primary service area, according to the bill.
The bill defines “service area” as the “fewest number of zip codes that account for 75% of the hospital’s discharges for the most recent 5-year period.”
In addition to Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Madison, and Taylor counties, hospitals in Baker, Bradford, Columbia, DeSoto, Gadsden, Hardee, Hendry, Holmes, Jackson, Levy, Monroe, Okeechobee, Suwannee, Union, Walton and Washington counties would also be eligible for the CON exemption, according to the Orlando Business Journal.
Efforts to pass a similar measure last year failed, but state Gov. Rick Scott (R) supports the change.
The bill has been referred to the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Human Services for consideration. If enacted, it would take effect on July 1.